So originally this was going to be a one parter, but it turns out I have a little more to say than I originally thought. I wrote this while procrastinating on my other much longer series, which I do hope to start posting soon. Just a little more to go on the first part. This is NOT beta-read. I might live to regret not sending it, but it's really such a short, fluffy piece and I was a little anxious to post. This was inspired by the episode The Interview Show when Jo mentions Blair taking her bowling for her birthday.
Jo called up the stairs for the third time, drumming her fingers impatiently on the banister.
“Just a second, Jo! I’m almost ready.”
“Yeah,” Jo muttered. “I’ll believe that when I see it.”
Mrs. Garrett smiled as she cleared the dishes off the table, “Take a load off, Jo. It’s your birthday. Blair will be down when she’s ready.”
Natalie sat at the desk behind her type writer. She stopped Mrs. Garrett on her way into the kitchen, using her finger to scoop some left over icing off one of the plates she was clearing. Typing with her free hand and licking the sweet cream off her thumb, she laughed sardonically, “Mmm… Yeah, Jo. Besides, are you sure Blair didn’t mean to say she was taking you out for your 20th birthday?”
Jo laughed, “Thanks, Nat. That’s real encouraging. “
“Where are you guys going anyway? Has Blair told you yet?”
Jo sighed, “No, but if she doesn’t get down here in the next ten minutes, I don’t plan on finding out. I told her a hundred times. I wanted to get out by seven and be home by nine, so I could go see that movie with you guys tonight.”
Natalie nodded her head, familiar with the plan. “Well, I’ll tell Tootie to look for a later showing. Besides, Jo, it’s a nice thing Blair’s doing. Taking you out for your birthday.”
“Yeah, yeah. I know. But I just know we’re going to end up at the opera or the orchestra or a French restaurant or something. I want to be in and out so I can get home and actually have some fun on my birthday.”
Natalie laughed, “Jo, it’s your birthday. Blair knows you’re not into any of that stuff. What makes you so sure she won’t take you some place you’ll enjoy?”
Jo gave her a stern look.
“Point taken,” Natalie conceded.
“I’m ready!” Blair’s singsong voice came loud from the top of the banister.
Jo almost choked on her tongue when she looked up. Blair Warner, walking advertisement for Bloomingdales, stood at the top of the stairs decked out head to toe in bowling gear. She wore a pink and black button down shirt, fitted black slacks that hit her ankle, and sensible black loafers. She even had gloves on.
Blair smiled in delight at the expression on Jo’s face, racing down the stair case to show off her outfit. “Well? Can you guess where we’re going?”
Jo was stunned, but sarcasm was automatic, “The rodeo?”
Blair rolled her eyes in admonishment while Natalie interjected, “Wow, Blair, you look great! I never knew you were such an avid bowler. Hell, I never knew you were a bowler at all.”
Blair laughed knowingly, “Don’t be silly. I bought this today. I just figured if I’m going to try my hand at this degenerative sport, I may as well do it stylishly.”
“Of course,” Natalie laughed. “But what will you do if they don’t have pink shoes to match?”
Blair’s brow furrowed in confusion, “What are you talking about? I’ve got shoes on right here.”
Natalie started to explain, but Jo’s stunned silence finally gave way, “You’re taking me bowling?!”
Blair looked back to Jo and shrugged, “It’s your birthday.”
Jo continued to stare at Blair, slightly dimwitted. “Yeah,” she responded.
Blair explained slowly, “And on one’s birthday, it’s often customary for friends to celebrate together.”
Jo repeated, “Yeah.”
“Thus I am taking you bowling.”
Jo still didn’t comprehend, “But why? You hate bowling.”
“Correction: I’ve never tried bowling. Though I suppose one doesn’t need to try something to know how they feel about it. After all, I’ve never worn a thread of polyester before and I can definitively say I abhor your entire wardrobe.”
Blair waited for Jo to return her serve, hoping their ever reliant verbal ping pong might wipe that dumbfounded expression off her face. Jo didn’t budge. She continued to stare at Blair in her bowling outfit, awestruck.
Starting to feel silly, Blair tried again, “Well, don’t you like bowling?”
“Well then, what’s so hard to understand? Really Jo,, you can’t truly be shocked that I came up with such a brilliant idea, can you? I mean, we’re going on five years of living together now. You must be used to my genius at this point.”
Jo still didn’t register the comment, “Why would you take me bowling? I don’t get it.”
“Really, Jo, it’s not the apocalypse. I promise you. The tides are still rising, the sun… Well, the sun’s gone down for today, but I'm sure it will rise tomorrow. The earth is still spinning on its axis. And I can assure you that I have not been abducted by an alien spaceship and had my brain washed. I just thought it’d be a nice thing to do on your birthday, that’s all.” Blair’s explanation took on an exasperated tone. She felt foolish. Ridiculous. Jo had complained all week about spending her birthday with Blair, but she’d been sure she would be excited once she found out where they were going. Her incredulous response unnerved Blair. She felt downright indignant that Jo would be so shocked by her kind gesture. Did she think there was an agenda attached to every nice thing she did?
The underlying insecurity in Blair’s words broke Jo of her reverie, “Okay.” She thought carefully about how to close the can the worms she opened. It wasn’t in the nature of their relationship for Jo to apologize, but she also knew her shock and bewilderment had been slightly overblown. It wasn’t as if Blair never did anything nice. “Ya gotta forgive me, Blair, but I just never thought I’d see the day when you’d stroll down the stairs in a bowling shirt.”
Blair looked at her for a minute, mulling her options. She could accept the diversion for what it was and take Jo out, or dive into an hour long discussion on how insulting it was that Jo constantly mistook her for a selfish brat. However, she figured forcing Jo to endure that conversation on her birthday was rather bratty and she was not about to give her even a hint of satisfaction. “Don’t you worry, the silk is imported. Let’s go.”
Jo smiled, grateful for the reprieve. “Let me grab my coat.”
Natalie watched the exchange with passing interest. She never knew half of what was going on between Blair and Jo. One day they’re ripping each other’s throats out and the next Blair is dressed like Earl Anthony and taking Jo out for her birthday. They always seemed to figure it out, though, so Natalie didn’t allow it to occupy her thoughts too often. They were more important things to concern herself with, like the half written story in front of her. She waved them off as she got back to work, “Have fun, guys. Jo, I’ll check the late shows.”
“Thanks, Nat. See ya.”
“Au revoir, Natalie.”
Blair smiled as she walked out behind Jo, her eyes sparkling before a thought occurred to her. The last thing Natalie heard before the door shut was Blair's question to Jo, spoken in absolute earnestness.
“Wait a minute, Jo. What was all that about my shoes?”